Burial in a National Cemetery
All members of the armed forces and veterans who have met minimum active service duty requirements and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable are eligible for burial in a National Cemetery. A veteran’s spouse, widow/widower, minor children, and, under certain conditions, unmarried adult children, may also be eligible for burial; eligible spouses and children may be buried, even if they pre-decease the veteran. Burial options are limited to those available at a specific cemetery but may include in-ground casket, or interment of cremated remains in a columbarium, in ground or in a scatter garden.
National Cemeteries in New York State
- Albany Rural Cemetery Soldiers' Lot - Albany
- Bath National Cemetery - Bath
- Calverton National Cemetery - Calverton
- Cypress Hills National Cemetery - Brooklyn
- Long Island National Cemetery - Farmingdale
- Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery - Schuylerville
- Woodlawn National Cemetery – Elmira
Burial in a National Cemetery is no cost to the veteran or their family. In the case of a body burial, the veteran is entitled to a grave, grave liner and government grave marker at no cost. In the case of cremation, the veteran is entitled to a niche in a columbarium wall or in the ground as well as a government grave marker at no cost.
Eligibility for Military Honors
Military members in the following categories are eligible for military funeral honors:
- Military personnel on active duty
- Former members who served on active duty and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable
- Members of the Selected Reserve and National Guard who served at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable
- Former members of the Selected Reserve and National Guard who were discharged due to a service-related disability
Military funeral honors are provided upon the family’s request. A funeral honors ceremony will, at a minimum, include the ceremonial folding and presentation of the American flag to the veteran's family and the playing of Taps. Certain honors ceremonies may involve a firing party along with casket bearers and a color guard team.
There are 3 types of honors :
- VETERAN HONORS are provided for someone who served, but did not retire from military service; ceremony consists of a 2-3 person team including the ceremonial folding and presentation of the flag and the sounding of Taps.
- RETIREE HONORS are provided for someone who served 20 or more years, or medically retired; ceremony consists of a 7-10 person team including a chaplain (when requested, and if available), pallbearers, firing party, the ceremonial folding and presentation of the flag and playing of Taps.
- FULL HONORS are provided for veterans on active duty, Medal of Honor recipients, and General Officers. This type of ceremony consists of a team of 21 including a chaplain, pallbearers, color guard, firing party, the ceremonial folding and presentation of the flag and playing of Taps.
A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who honorably served in the U. S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a veteran's military service to his or her country. Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, at the conclusion of the funeral service following its use.
Presidential Memorial Certificates
A Presidential Memorial Certificate honors the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans. The next of kin and loved ones of a deceased veteran are eligible to request a certificate. A copy of the deceased veteran's military discharge document along with a photocopy of the death certificate must be provided when requesting a certificate.
Requests for a Presidential Memorial Certificate may be made via phone, 202- 565-4259, or in person at any VA Regional Office:
Buffalo Regional Office - 130 South Elmwood Avenue Buffalo, NY 14202
New York Regional Office - 245 W Houston Street New York, NY 10014
The Department of Veterans Affairs furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant: a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death.
- Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.
- Medallions: The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a medallion, by request, to be affixed to an existing privately purchased headstone or marker to signify the deceased's status as a Veteran.
- The medallion is currently available in three sizes, 5 inches, 3 inches, and 1-1/2 inches. Each medallion will be inscribed with the word "VETERAN" across the top and the Branch of Service at the bottom. Appropriate affixing adhesive, instructions and hardware are provided with the medallion.
- Eligibility : http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hm/hmelig.asp